We need to understand that the Bible is a prophetic book. The scriptures declare that Jesus Christ “is held in the heavens till the restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of the prophets.” The first prophetic declaration is in Genesis 3; it foretells the triumph of the church over the devil. God announced His eternal purpose from the beginning and prophetic ministry is very important in the eternal plan! I divide prophecy into two categories. The first category is Bible prophecy, or the prophetic messages laid out in the scripture. It is very important that we are able to understand these things. The second category is the understanding of prophets as part of the five-fold ministry, necessary for the bringing of the Body of Christ to maturity, according to Ephesians 4.
One of the major obstacles to our understanding of the prophetic is perspective. If we have a carnal perspective, the message of the prophecy (as well as the declaration of prophetic words) will be obscured. After the Lord spoke to John the apostle concerning the messages that he was to share with the churches of Asia minor, he was instructed, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” The importance of this scripture is understanding that the discernment of the prophetic requires a heavenly perspective, not an earthly one. Much of the interpretation and operation of the prophetic is hindered by the lack of a heavenly perspective. This is why apostolic ministry is closely related to prophetic ministry, because it helps bring forth the heavenly perspective.
When you read the perfecting epistles, you see an emphasis on revelation. Paul, as an apostle, not only met Jesus Christ and went through the conversion process; he also had a time where he received divine revelation as a part of his preparation for ministry. He wrote in Galatians, “I went up by revelation and communicated to them the gospel I preach to the Gentiles.” In the letter to the church of Ephesus, you see him pray and encourage them that “the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened,” letting us see how an apostle brings the light of revelation to the people. You can see in these letters the importance of people having a revelation of the world (as well as themselves) from a heavenly, or spiritual perspective. When we are mature enough to get to this place, we will walk more perfectly in prophetic ministry.
Time is not an eternal concept!
One of the biggest failures in biblical prophecy is people trying to bring God into the realm of our time. When Jesus spoke to his disciples about the future, including the change the New Covenant would bring, they immediately asked, “Tell us when will these things be.” After He had spent 40 days with the disciples after the resurrection, they asked, “Lord will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus’ response was very pertinent, even in our day. “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” In Matthew 24 He says, “But of the day and hour no one knows, no not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Time is an earthly concept of great preoccupation for us. Jesus goes on to tell them to live right all of the time, so that they will be ready at the appointed time. With this understanding, is it possible that the time frame is fluid based on the need?
The Word says concerning Joseph, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.” Is it possible that God is not looking at His watch, but rather watching to see our response, and development, through the words He has given? Either way, I know God’s concern is focused on our preparedness, as should ours be. It is common that whenever a new year comes, people review the previous year and talk about what is to come. I believe that many prophets try to fit the word, and plan of God, in the human calendar, but God certainly has His own timeframe. How many people seek a word for the next year, only to be disappointed in the outcome? Oftentimes, it is because we want to pull God into our world, rather than let Him take us into His! It is time for the apostles to “take us up” to the place of the heavenly perspective, so we can begin to live in the realm of God.
Will you join me in reaching for a heavenly perspective the next time you catch yourself looking at the times?